By Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

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They kick into fight-or-flight mode and act reflexively to keep themselves safe. ” Not super effective, right? Yet we keep following this pattern over and over—usually because we haven’t figured out another way to deal with politics the way it is practiced today. And because we haven’t figured out another way, we keep reacting in the same way, which reinforces the cycle, and so it keeps going on and on. The good news is that we can stop and change the way that we as individual actors engage in politics.

Leave? Change your words, posture, behavior? Make a decision and then do it. Or don’t do anything. This page intentionally left blank 3 Creating Coalitions You Actually Want to Join rogressives love to talk about coalitions, but we’re not very good at creating or maintaining them. In most cases, we get all the same ol’ activists together in a room, and then one of two things happens: (1) whoever is in charge basically tells all the other people to forget their own interests and pony up for the “greater good,” or (2) no one is in charge, and everyone sits around sniping at each other for months, never accomplishing a thing.

Was it a block of rage? Did the room seem to be spinning around you? Remember what you were thinking the last time you were upset, angry, or scared. • What were you doing? What actions were you taking when this happened? Were you clenching your fists? Were you pacing the room? Remember the actions and behaviors you were engaging in the last time you were upset, angry, or scared. Now that you remember what it’s like when you are angry, upset, or scared, the next time you feel, think, or do any of those things you just listed, remind yourself to notice them and then stop.

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